Yesterday, Terry Waldron and Peter Rundle, on behalf of the Honourable Terry Redman MLA (Minister for Regional Development; Lands), announced that the long-awaited flushing channel for Lake Ewlyamartup has been approved and funded by cabinet!
Present at the announcement were: Shire of Katanning President, Liz Guidera; Shire of Katanning CEO, Julian Murphy; Shire of Katanning EM Projects and Community Building, Sam Davis; Shire of Katanning EM Property and Assets, Andrus Budrikis; Lake Ewlyamartup Working Group (LEWG) Chairman, Mick Quartermaine; Katanning Landcare Ella Maesepp, and Andrea Salmond.
Do you remember that big meeting in July 2016? With the presentations from the engineers on a flushing channel?
Though engineering drawings aren’t the most fascinating thing to look at, it was so important that the town showed up to say that Lake Ewlyamartup was important to us, and that we need the flushing channel!
Well, your voice was heard, and just this Monday, it was finally made a reality!
As part of the $3.7million put towards the “Living Lakes Stage 3 – Implementation of Engineering Works,” Lake Ewlyamartup will receive just shy of $2.6million to construct the flushing channel. The remainder of the funding will go to Lake Yealering for work being done to improve their own local lake. This funding has been made possible by the Liberal National Government’s Royalties for Regions program.
Mr Redman said the project would employ creative engineering solutions to improve water quality and create permanent and accessible water bodies for the enjoyment of local communities and tourists.
“Investment in these lakes will re-establish native flora and fauna, attract visitors and deliver economic returns to the communities,” he said.
“Lake Yealering in the Wheatbelt and Lake Ewlyamartup in the Great Southern are both integral to their communities.
“This investment, through the Royalties for Regions Living Lakes initiative, will increase opportunities for bird watching, boating, swimming and water-skiing. This revitalisation will boost visitation to these lakes, helping to bring tourism dollars to surrounding communities as well as providing environmental and social benefits.”
Engineering improvements to both lakes are aimed at increasing the average number of days each year with water depth greater than 1.5 metres, as well as significantly improving the quality of the water.
The Living Lakes initiative will complement the improvements made by the local communities to the amenity of the lakes.
So, what does this mean for Katanning?
This represents the culmination of seven years of the community’s hard slog at Lake Ewlyamartup. It’s the ‘icing on the cake’ so-to-speak.
Without the flushing channel, maintaining and improving water quality would be impossible, and slowly, we would see the water deteriorate again, until it was no longer usable, which is why the Lake Ewlyamartup Working Group (LEWG) and Katanning Landcare, and the whole of the community has pushed so hard for the flushing channel to go in. The flushing channel will allow control of water movement in and out, and, in theory, keep it clean and healthy for years to come.
So, when will the digging start?
There’s no clear time frame, but Wheatbelt NRM will be managing both projects, and will have to first get tenders for the major infrastructure works. We can speculate that construction would commence no earlier than mid-2017, but we will be sure to let you know when we do have more definitive information on the project schedule.
We have full confidence in the ability of Wheatbelt NRM to manage an infrastructure project of this magnitude and look forward to building a strong working partnership with them through the life of project.
We will be sure to keep you up to date as we learn more!
Update 1/12/16 – just wanted to share this article from the Great Southern Herald from the announcement 24/11/2016.
Author: Andrea Salmond
Andrea has been with Katanning Landcare since 2013 and is passionate about equipping people with the tools, skills and resources they need to make positive changes to our environment.